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The Great Wall gets greater

Posted on 21 April 2009 | 9:04am

‘Gee, what a great wall.’ You had to hand it to Ronald Reagan. He had a way with words.

But now it seems the Great Wall is even greater than the Great Communicator realised when he came out with his reaction on seeing it for the first time.

There we were, thinking the Chinese had total control of everything that happened inside their vast country, and yet it seems they were unaware of 180 miles worth of extra Great Wall.

What is also interesting, given how quickly the Chinese appear able to put up power stations, stadia or major infrastructure projects, is that it took two years hi-tech work by the Mapping Agency to discover the new bits thus far concealed from mapsters by hills, trenches and rivers. And, according to the China Daily, there may be more. Another hundred miles and we’ll be up to 4,000.

What appeals to me about the story is that no matter how much we think we know about anything, there is always something new to learn, if even a wonder as well-known and well-chronicled as The Great Wall can, centuries on, be discovered to have new bits that stretch the length of the M1

… which is where I was, (excuse dreadful clunky segue) heading back from Burnley’s wonderful win against Sheffield United, when I got a message from a friend equally impressed by the discovery of the extra bits

… and where I will be tomorrow, heading to the opening of a new centre run by the mental health charity MIND, thereby ensuring I miss the Budget, but good luck to Alistair D. Interesting results from Tesco I see. Interesting piece from the boss of Next yesterday. Interesting comments from the CBI. Interesting observation from a businessman on the train north yesterday (I got a lift back) who said he thought things were picking up faster than he had expected.

Who knows? All I know is the Great Wall has been the same length for centuries. It’s just that we didn’t know what it was. We just thought we did.

  • Ian Eastwood

    Interesting how many things are not all what they seem.
    Reading the released CIA torture technique documents. Walling for instance, this sounds pretty brutal throwing someone against a wall. When you read the detail this includes building a false flexible wall that is constructed to sound loud and not inflict pain or injury, then before pushing the suspected terrorist against the wall a towel should be rolled and wrapped around the prisoners neck to prevent whiplash.
    Many of the other techniques also had many health and safety recommendation attached to them.

    At this point I looked at the calendar to check it wasn’t April the 1st then it took me back than old Monty Python sketch (The Spanish inquisition) Next we will be pocking them with the soft cushion and getting the comfy chair out. Whilst waiting for them to cough before for the bombs to go off.

    Before everyone starts calling me a hang em and flog em merchant I am not. I don’t believe in capital punishment or torture for that matter. Let’s just get real and look behind the dramatic tabloid headlines to what actually happens

    I’ve been treated worse on a Burnley away day.

  • Jane A

    Good for you for going to see a new MIND centre tomorrow – I am sure they will be delighted to see you.

    I hope that, having met you, they then vote for you as MIND Champion 2009 (and I hope your blog readers do so too) at:

  • Matt Fisher

    Just heard on the Radio that 100 million Chinese viewers were watching a snooker match involving a Chinese player. How do they know?

  • kevin

    It’s a suckers recovery. Don’t put any money in it beccause their not gonna let it fly. It’s like the last breath of the dying man, full of life but it won’t go anywhere. Be ready for the ship to continue it’s gut wrenching path to the bottom of the infinite sea anytime now. Infinity, like the great wall of China is much longer than many anticipate. Go ask an economist what it all means……whilst the world drowns in their faulty equations?

  • Mike Barlow

    AC…all facts are opinions…right?
    What is presented as fact, is [in fact?], just somebody, nobody, anybody, proffering opinion based upon academic study [at best] or a good guess [at worst]?

    Take the GWOC: Who, in the 1st instance, said it was xx length? Where did that originate and upon what historic, substantiated, basis was that agreed?

    So many ‘facts’, so little ‘evidence’…that is the basis of modern life, it seems.

    Those who appear to have authority or knowledge are given far to much ‘authority’ and afore ye know, it’s a fact.

    Transient in nature, that’s a fact.